In my last post I talked about reading books about people who wanted to find a way to improve their quality of life. That post perfectly transitions into this one as Paul and I have also been discussing what we want for the next chapter of ours.
When we rented our house here in San Antonio Tlayacapan, it was a kind of hurried decision because our plans to live in Mexico City had fallen through. We have been pleased with our quiet little house on the lake – we love our neighbors and our landlord but we were feeling itchy to change to a different kind of life.
All big decisions for us seem to take us all over the place. This time was no different. First we thought we might look into moving back to the US. Any of you who know us would be shocked by this (especially given our politics) but after 12 years in Mexico we were craving all those things that would be easy in the US. Libraries. Community gardens. Grocery stores with everything you need all in one place! Bike paths. Classes at the University nearby. You get it.
We started exploring places we would consider.
Bellingham, WA – Where family lives. (Too cold in the winter, housing too expensive)
California – (Lots of great places but too earthquake prone, fire prone and too expensive)
Santa Fe, NM (Too expensive and also cold in the winter)
El Paso, TX (Love that we’d be around Mexicans still but far from everything except the border)
Tuscon, AZ (a blue dot in a red state, but super hot and dry weather and expensive)
All of the places we were considering we knocked off one by one. Tucson stayed on our radar the longest because we have friends there who were encouraging us to come for a visit and who really like it there. But the longer we investigated it the more we realized that moving to a place that is already as hot and dry as Tucson makes no sense as the climate crisis continues to make the earth hotter and hotter. Climate change really did enter into our decision as rising waters, accelerated desertification and more intense storms are a reality now. We also wanted a place where food grows to reduce the miles our food must travel.
Money is also an issue, of course. We are comfortable but not rich and the cost of living is much higher in the US. Just think about the cost of real estate taxes and house insurance in the US compared to Mexico. A moderately priced house we looked at online in Tucson had $3,300 in property taxes alone as well as an $80 per month homeowner’s association fee. Cars cost more. Restaurant food, movies, and everything really costs more. I bought a large green juice in July at Roebek’s in Bellingham, WA for $8.50 US! I buy them frequently here in Mexico for between 30 and 50 pesos which is $1.50 to $2.50 US.
We also realized that we would be really sad to leave Mexico. So then we went round and round of all the places we know and love in Mexico. Merida. San Miguel. Queretaro. Guanajuato. Mexico City. Back to Mazatlán. We went around and around. Too hot. Too cold. Too this and too that. We also realized that in the year and a half we’ve been here at Lake Chapala we have started to put down roots, and that we like it. The weather is fantastic. There are lots of things to do and we’re less than an hour to Guadalajara.
So you can probably tell that we’ve decided to stay in the area. We spent months looking at real estate here and finally decided to buy a house in San Antonio Tlayacapan. It’s right in town and doesn’t have a view but does have a nice big yard for the dogs and some gardening. I think we’re going to be really happy there. We wanted to be back in the midst of the town, with all the fun and noise and wonderful Mexican culture. We’re looking forward to walking to the plaza at night for a piece of cake or an ice cream. The veggie truck and junk man will pass by. Weekend evenings just one door away one direction are folks roasting elotes (corn) and the other direction a couple doors they’re selling roasted peanuts.
Our peaceful spot on the lake was a great place for us to regroup after all the stress we went through but now we are happy to be a little more urban – as much as you can call the little pueblo of San Antonio urban, that is.
More later… stay tuned. If you’d like to get an email telling you when there’s a new post, please look to the sidebar on the right.
Photos in the post are trees in our new backyard – the first is a papaya and the second is a granada (pomegranate.) There’s also a banana and a huge noche buena (poinsettia) that aren’t pictured. I have been rooting various plants for our new place, right now I have three pithayas (dragonfruit) and two daturas (a pink and a yellow).